Italian Street Painting Marin Returns to San Rafael with "Ciao Bella Roma"

June 20, 2016

Italian Street Painting Marin

Over 100 madonnari, or street painters, come to downtown San Rafael on June 25 and 26 to show off their talents at the 2016 Italian Street Painting Marin's Ciao Bella Roma. This year's theme, which means "Hello Beautiful Rome!" will transport you to the Enternal City itself and highlight over 3,000 years of art, architecture, and culture. This event features amazing artwork by the participating madonnari, as well as great live music, children's activities, Italian food and drink, and more.

The Family Friendly Summer Nights Outdoor Music Festival Returns to the Osher Marin JCC

June 18, 2016

Diego's Umbrella This summer, the Osher Marin JCC reprises its most popular event series: the Summer Nights Outdoor Music Festival. Bring your picnic, blanket, low-backed lawn chairs, and dancing shoes—there's fun for the whole family! Concerts take place on Saturday evenings from July 9 through August 6 at 7 pm. Dinners from a variety of local pop-up restaurants will be available for purchase, along with beer, wine, non-alcoholic drinks, and snacks.

Best of all, kids 17 and under are admitted free, and the Kid Zone will include fun art projects and activities presented by local organizations like the JCC's Summer Camps program, 10,000 degrees, and Brandeis Marin School. Of course the playground will be open for supervised play, too!

This summer's multicultural outdoor concert lineup features:

  • July 9: African Music Night with Africa's most recognized and inspirational band, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars. There will be a pre-concert African dance class. Food by Sol Food and Kid Zone hosted by JCC Summer Camps
  • July 16: Gypsy rock from Diego's Umbrella. Marin youth a capella group 'Til Dawn opens. Dinners from the Plant Café Organic, Kid Zone hosted by 10,000 degrees.

Weekend Family-friendly Fun for June 17, 18 & 19

June 17, 2016

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families in and around Marin County this Father's Day weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

Friday, June 17

  • Children's Garden Series: Pi Clowns
    Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco
    Friday, 11–11:30 am & 12:15–12:45 pm

    Silliness is very serious business for the Pi Clowns. A company dedicated to knock-about physical comedy, these performers don’t tell jokes. Blending mime, theater, acrobatics, juggling, and improvisation, the Pi Clowns deliver delightful and original clown vignettes. Free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Builder's Challenge
    South Novato Library
    Friday, 3–4 pm
    Children of all abilities ages 4–12 are invited to build, play, engineer and destruct together. Registration is not required but space is limited to 30 people on a first-come, first-serve basis. Materials will be provided. For more information, call the South Novato Library at (415) 506-6158. Location: 931 C Street, Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Nights at the de Young
    de Young Museum, San Francisco
    Friday, 5–8:45 pm

    Friday Nights at the de Young are after-hours art happenings that include a mix of live music, dance and theater performances, film screenings, panel discussions, lectures, artist demonstrations, hands-on art activities, and exhibition tours. The café offers a delicious prix-fixe menu and specialty cocktails, and the Hamon Tower observation level is open until 8 pm. This Friday, Dance Off: Bollywood. For more info, visit their website.
  • A Year With Frog and Toad
    Marin Theatre Company, Mill Valley
    Friday & Saturday, 5 pm and Sunday, 2 pm

    Join us this weekend for some very special performances of A Year With Frog and Toad KIDS by our K-2 production class! Adult Tickets are $8, Children are $5. Location: 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley. Purchase tickets here.
  • Father-Son Luau
    Corte Madera Community Center
    Friday,  6:30–9 pm

    Have fun at the Father-Son Luau at the Corte Madera Community Center. This event features games, activities, and a food. Location: 300 Tamalpais Drive, Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • Jazz & Blues by the Bay
    Gabrielson Park, Sausalito
    Friday, 6:30–8 pm

    Jazz & Blues by the Bay at Gabrielson Park in Sausalito is a free event. Lawn seating available (first-come first-served). This Friday: Gator Nation Band—Zydeco. Sponsored by the Volunteers in Public Safety. For more info, call (415) 289-4100 or visit their website.
  • Opening Night: Tam Valley's Creekside Fridays
    Tennessee Valley Cabin, Mill Valley
    Friday, 6:30–8 pm

    Bring the family, pets, chairs, and blankets to the weekly free musical event. This Friday, Jerry Hannan will be performing. Food available for purchase. For more info, call (415) 289-4152 or visit their website.

Saturday, June 18

  • Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic
    Windsor
    Saturday & Sunday, 5–11 am

    This celebration of Wine Country's most beautiful sites features two days of hot air ballooning, food, crafts, balloon rides (tethered to the ground) and other fun. Cost: $6 advance, $10 at gate, $5 children 6–12. Location: 700 Windsor River Road, Windsor. For more info, visit their website.
  • The Great Race
    Downtown San Rafael
    Saturday, 8 am

    Classic cars gather in downtown San Rafael for the start of the 2016 Great Race. The official start of this road rally, which ends in Moline, Illinois, begins at 10 am. Free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Enjoy the best local and organic produce, flowers, pastured meats, seafood, organic cheeses, yogurt and milk, breads, baked goods, pasta, confections, olive oil, and brunch and lunch offerings! Kids can take a pony ride and visit the petting zoo (10 am–2 pm), try out some arts and crafts (9 am–2 pm) and listen to family music (9:30–10:30 am). Special Father's Day LEGO event at Poppy from 10:30 am–2 pm. For more info, visit their website.
  • 12th Annual Flea and Makers Market
    Mill Valley Community Center
    Saturday, 9 am–3 pm

    Find new treasures and collectibles at bargain prices, plus the Mill Valley Seniors' Club will sell a variety of foods, drinks, snacks and delicious homemade take-home goodies! Location: 180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin Municipal Water District Customer Appreciation Open House
    MMWD Corporation Yard, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 9 am–noon
    Join MMWD for their 2nd Annual Customer Appreciation Open House! This year's event will feature water quality lab tours and testing demonstrations, a musical performance from ZunZun, and kids' arts and crafts activities, as well as a photo opportunity on MMWD's heavy equipment with a safety hat and vest, conservation and drought information, a Mt. Tam Watershed model, refreshments, and much more! Location: 220 Tamal Vista Boulevard, Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • Learn How to Pier Fish on Father’s Day Weekend
    Paradise Beach Park, Tiburon

    Saturday, 10 am–noon
    Join rangers and a few experienced local anglers on Father's Day weekend to learn the secrets and tricks of the trade when fishing from a pier. A limited amount of poles will be available on a first come, first-served basis. A valid California fishing license is required when fishing from the shore, not from the pier. Don't forget to bring your dad and a fishing pole! For more info, visit their website.
  • Northern California Pirate Festival
    Vallejo Waterfront
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–6 pm
    Navigate your way to the waterfront town of Vallejo for the Northern California Pirate Festival, which takes place from 10 am–6 pm on Saturday and Sunday, June 18 and 19. Enjoy piratical music, swordplay, pirate skills demonstrations, food, and booty! Admission is $10 for adults, free for kids 11 and under. For more info, visit their website.
  • Tiburon Classic Car Show
    Shoreline Park, Tiburon
    Saturday, 11 am–4 pm
    The Tiburon Classic Car Show is a wonderful community event, held annually in Tiburon near the ferry boat landing, against the beautiful backdrop of the Tiburon Waterfront Park. The show celebrates the beauty of classic automobiles (produced prior to 1971), and men, women and children alike, find great enjoyment in viewing the cars on display. Free. For more info visit their website.
  • Family Performance: Cristalette & Company
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Saturday, 10:30 am & 12:15 pm

    Dance and sing along to Cristalette & Company, a sophisticated soul band that plays a mix of well-known and obscure oldies. Free after museum admission. Location: 
    557 McReynolds Road Fort Baker, Sausalito. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Mateo County Fair
    San Mateo Event Center
    Saturday & Sunday, 11 am–10 pm

    San Mateo County's annual fair includes concerts by Night Ranger, Kansas, and Tower of Power, as well as free fair entertainment like STEM activities from the Super Science Company, Captain Jack Spareribs, Life Sized Mousetrap, the Great American Petting Zoo, Balloonacy, and more. Of course there will be carnival rides, farm animals, and exhibits of all types, too. Location:1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo 94403. For more info, visit their website.

Kids Eat for Free in Marin

June 15, 2016

kids eat free in marinLike many families these days, we find ourselves grabbing lunch or dinner on the go probably more than we should. Of course all this dining out adds up after a while and has the potential to be a major drain on the wallet. Fortunately, there are plenty of great family-friendly restaurants in Marin that offer free dining for kids—usually with the purchase of an adult entree (and only when dining in)—one or more days during the week.

Here's our list of kids-eat-free offers, broken down by location. Please note that all information presented here is, to the best of our knowledge, correct at the time of publishing, but deals come and deals go, so you should confirm with the restaurant before you go, just in case.

Mill Valley

High Tech Burrito

118 Strawberry Village
Mill Valley, CA 94941
(415) 388-7002

Kids eat free off the kids' menu at Marin's High Tech Burrito locations on Sundays. hightechburrito.com

Pasta Pomodoro

Strawberry Village
800 Redwood Highway
Mill Valley 94941

(415) 388-1692
Pasta Pomodoro offers free dining for children 10 and under on Tuesdays. The children's menu includes a variety of traditional kids' menu dishes like grilled cheese and pizza, plus the chance to make your own pasta creation. Pasta Pomodoro also has a location in Novato. www.pastapomodoro.com

10 Summer Family Fun Things to Do in Sonoma County

June 13, 2016

Johnson's Beach Russian River

Sonoma County, Marin's neighbor to the north, has so much to offer for families, especially during the summer. From parks to beaches to unique attractions—not to mention the world renowned Wine Country—there so much to do in Sonoma County that you'll probably have to make several trips.

Pack up the kiddos and head north for a Sonoma adventure! Here are 10 fantastic destinations in Sonoma County worth checking out this summer.

Guerneville and the Russian River

Johnson's Beach

Spending the day at this old-school beach along the Russian River is like taking a step back in time. Food and drink are available for sale, and you can rent paddle boats, kayaks, and canoes. Parking's $5, admission is free, and you can hang out and play all day!

Father's Day Fun and Events in Marin and Beyond

June 13, 2016

Sunday, June 19 is Father's Day, so start planning something special for Dad! There are many fun and exciting events, outings, and activities available for families in Marin and the Bay Area, and here are our favorite picks for a memorable Father's Day outing. Please keep in mind that many of these events require advance reservations, and may change at the last minute, so make sure you contact the organizer before you go.

  • Father Son Luau BBQ
    Corte Madera Community Center

    Friday, June 17, 6:30-–8:30 pm
    Have fun at the Father Son Luau at the Corte Madera Community Center, Rooms: Main Hall. The event is for all ages and will feature games, activities, and a BBQ. The cost is $20 per person. Register online here.
  • Learn How to Pier Fish on Father’s Day Weekend
    Paradise Beach Park, Tiburon

    Saturday, June 18, 10 am–12 pm
    Join rangers and a few experienced local anglers on Father's Day weekend to learn the secrets and tricks of the trade when fishing from a pier. A limited amount of poles will be available on a first come, first-served basis. A valid California fishing license is required when fishing from the shore, not from the pier. Don't forget to bring your dad and a fishing pole! Find more info here.

Boutique Camps for Girls at the Rolling Hills Club

June 13, 2016

American Girl Doll Camp at the Rolling Hills ClubCalling all girls—come join in the boutique camps this summer at Novato's Rolling Hills Club!

Back by popular demand is the club's most popular camp, Spa Camp. With two sessions offered this summer, this camp is for girls ages 7 to 12. Your favorite girl can end the summer with some well deserved pampering. Learn how to do one of the newest nail trends, moon manicures! Come create a bath bomb and custom perfume, make snow cone sugar scrub, and fashion a inspired galaxy T-shirt. This year will have even more fun, with glitter tattoos, faux feather extensions, and the opportunity to try henna designs. Each day, campers will create spa favored foods for snack, swim, and more! This camp always fills up fast, register today!

Hawaiian Style BBQ Short Ribs

June 12, 2016

Hawaiian style short ribsThese marinated and grilled short ribs are the perfect thing for a summer backyard BBQ. They only take a few minutes to make and cook (outside of the marinating time), and the sweet-salty soy sauce-based Hawaiian marinade delivers a taste of the islands without having to get on a plane.

You can serve these short ribs in classic Hawaiian plate lunch style, accompanied by two scoops of rice and macaroni salad, but we opted to be a little healthier and make an island-style sesame-cabbage slaw that has added texture from crumbled dry instant ramen noodles.

You'll want to get Hawaiian-style—also called Maui- or flanken-style—short ribs, which are cut in thin strips across the bone. These don't need to be marinated all that long, and only need to be grilled a few minutes on each side. The marinade works great with chicken or pork, too.

Road Trip! Seven Favorite Summer California Family Getaways

June 12, 2016

Safari West

School's out and summer is here! California offers countless opportunities for fantastic family getaways; after all, that's why millions of tourists visit our state every year. You don't have to get on a plane to visit some of the world's most beloved vacation destinations—many of them are right in our own backyard. Here are some of our favorite family summer road trip destinations, ranging from beach towns to the High Sierra to an African wildlife preserve right in Sonoma County.

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